August 17, 2022

Review and News

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Brooklyn’s small businesses aren’t letting the Grinch — or the ongoing supply chain shortages — ruin Christmas.
Savvy store owners have come up with creative and crafty ways to keep their shelves full and customers happy.
“We started seriously stocking up in late May and now have a massive amount of inventory,” Mary Meyer, co-founder of Bushwick store Friends NYC, told of the retailer’s holiday season prep.
So — after you read this story, of course — close your browser window, get out of your apartment, and get back to shopping in real life!
Here are a selection of Brooklyn spots worth hitting up IRL, and the coolest gifts to shop from each.
Gone to the Dogs

This place is too doggone cute!
At this pup’s paradise in Park Slope, shop owner Jenn Wong, 38, and business partner Santos Agustin, 39, create and sell sustainable pet toys and cheery canine supplies.
They make many of the items in-house at their combo studio and store, which opened five months ago after a year of strictly online retail. Among their coolest gear? Bright-colored leashes ($58-$68), collars ($54), and harnesses ($100) made with recycled rope collected from local climbing gyms like Brooklyn Boulders.
But it’s their adorable stuffed dog toys that grab the attention of passersby.

Designed by Wong and Augustin, the adorable chew toys at Gone to the Dogs are a staple at the store. Stephen Yang

Owners Augustin and Wong hold Ollie in front of their leashes, which they make by hand out of recycled gym ropes. Stephen Yang

Owner Jenn Wong with Cashew, a dog sporting a locally sourced clothing ensemble from her shop. Stephen Yang

Gone to the Dogs cheeriness has made it stand out in Brooklyn, Wong said. Stephen Yang

“We are constantly getting new customers … Some people think it’s actually a kid’s store,” Wong said, and indeed, the stuffed toys ($16 to $25) would make charming companions for kiddos, too. “We just want to brighten everyone’s day.”
Of their huggable plush squeakers, the onigiri sushi roll, double scoop ice cream cone, and popsicle are some of Wong’s best sellers in addition to the non-squeaking dumpling and shumai toys.
Leashes at Gone to the Dogs are handmade from recycled gym ropes. Cashew rocks the neckwear.Stephen Yang
Other paw-some offerings include handmade, “cruelty free” colorful Alpaca wool doggie sweaters ($116 to $134), patterned bandanas ($29) and bowties ($19 to $45).
Gone to the Dogs; 103 7th Ave., Brooklyn. Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and 12 to 6 p.m. on Sundays;
Friends NYC
Buddy up and head to Friends NYC for a collection of whimsical wares.Stephen Yang
The clever stocking stuffers and quirky gifts at this Bushwick emporium will please everyone on your list, from your Gen-Z cousin who loves crystals to your wacky aunt.
They’ve got handmade ornaments inspired by La Croix cans, gummy bears and yes, COVID-19-themed kitsch.
“People are really loving the mask and vaccine needle ornaments [$15], those are selling rapidly,” co-owner Emma Kadar-Penner said, adding that funny Christmas card bundles are also popular.
But we’re obsessing over the candles fashioned after a plate of spaghetti (complete with garlic bread) and a bowl of cereal ($59.99 each) and the uniquely cut jigsaw puzzles of vintage-style still-life photos by Le Puzz ($28.99).

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Although it doesn’t smell like spaghetti, this hyper-realistic culinary candle is a major seller at Friends NYC. Stephen Yang

Randomly cut jigsaw pieces in Le Puzz puzzles are beloved by customers at Friends NYC. Stephen Yang

Friends NYC, an indie department store full of kitschy home goods, small gifts, crystals, clothing and smoking goods located in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Stephen Yang

Friends NYC; 56 Bogart St., Brooklyn. Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily;
Tula Plants & Design
It’s paradise for plant lovers in Greenpoint.Stephen Yang
Looking for a taste of the tropics without leaving the big apple this holiday season? Then stop by Greenpoint’s Tula Plants & Design.
Owner Christan Summers prides herself in Tula’s unique collection of plants “scoured” from tropical and southwestern regions.
“The cactuses are quite popular,” Summers said. “There’s one kind called cereus forbesii that people love because it spirals up and looks like a tornado.”
In addition to cacti and other grows, Tula has also bundled together gift baskets for the holiday season. One consists of niwaki garden snipping scissors, a teakwood and tobacco candle, a 1,000-piece puzzle, and a comfy “Tula Smile” sweatshirt for $98.

Shopkeeper Laura-Lee Williams, 26, holds a Calathea Lancifolia ($28). Stephen Yang

In addition to plants, Tula also sells clothing related to the Earth’s grows. Stephen Yang

Tula Plants & Design, a lush plant nursery in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, sells an array of exotic plants, cacti, soil, potting supplies and clothing. Stephen Yang

Tula specialized in plants from tropical and desert regions. Stephen Yang

Their other hot ticket item is an NSFW planter shaped like a round rump — if you’re looking for a, ahem, cheeky gift.
“It’s kind of hard to not make a funny thing out of them,” Summers admits.
Tula Plants & Design; 59 Meserole Ave., Brooklyn. Open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday; Last day to ship for Christmas is Dec. 15 and last day to shop is Dec. 23.
Hatchet Outdoor Supply Co.
Sales associate Bella Rojas Bauso, 27, wears a Kapital Boa Fleece Baseball Cap ($167) and a Kapital Gauze Bandana Patchwork Quilt Jacket ($986).Stephen Yang
Whether you’re a bonafide camper or just upstate-curious, Hatchet Supply will have you bundled to the teeth for your next outdoor expedition.
Owner Gene Han, 39, said selling climbing, hiking, and camping gear in an urban area requires deep customer loyalty, and since COVID-19 struck he’s been grateful for it.
“Our locals who come into the store instead of ordering online and all of our super-fans have been holding us down through everything,” Han said.
As a thank you, Han is offering a store-wide 15% off with the promo code Holiday2021 this season in addition to free shipping on orders over $200.

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Stock up on necessities for all your outdoor adventures at Hatchet Outdoor Supply Co. Stephen Yang

Whether you’re going for a stroll on a wintery day in Brooklyn or plan on scaling a mountain, Hatchet has something for you. Stephen Yang

Hatchet offers an “eclectic” supply of outdoor gear and home furnishings. Stephen Yang

Sales associate Bella Rojas Bauso, 27, with a Topo Designs x Keen River Subalpine Pack ($59). Stephen Yang

Locals are loving Hatchet’s luxe but practical gear, like the Minima Rhythm 180 W insulation sleeping bag ($600), snow resilient shoes — the Renegade GTX Mid Black ($230) are a big hit — and backpacks for hiking such as the durably made Klettersack ($189).
And for those not yet ready to rough it, bring the scent of wilderness home with a Lineage candle in “Appalachian Woodsmoke” ($25).
Hatchet Supply Co.; 77 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn Heights. Open 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends;
La Nature
Co-owner Peter Rubinstein, 27, uses the refillable soap container at La Nature, a boutique selling plastic free, eco friendly, sustainable everyday essentials in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Stephen Yang
Peter Rubinstein, 27, a freelance writer, did not know what to expect when he and his wife Hayley Nguyen, 26, who works in marketing, decided to open their very first business, a “no waste” concept store in Park Slope last May.
But the community fell in love with La Nature, which sells conscious home goods and features a “refillery” of shampoos and soaps so customers can re-use containers from home and help cut back on single-use plastics.

Eco-friendly and decadently scented soaps are for sale this holiday season at La Natural. Stephen Yang

Hayley Nguyen, 26, left, and Peter Rubinstein, 27, right, at La Nature, a boutique selling plastic free, eco friendly, sustainable everyday essentials in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Stephen Yang

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The refillery (center) at La Natural is where customers can bring their own shampoo and soap bottles for replenishing. Stephen Yang

Refillable soap, moisturizer and shampoo at La Nature. Stephen Yang

The teal storefront of La Nature, a neighborhood zero waste establishment. Stephen Yang

Rubinstein recommends the starter kit, which would make a great gift for anyone new to the “no waste” life: For $60, you get two Swedish dishcloths (each replace 17 rolls of paper towels), beeswax wraps (sayonara, Saran!), bamboo utensils, a plastic-free loofah and a silicone reusable storage bag.
“The starter kit really takes away the hesitation to buy for newcomers,” he said.
Other quality bundles include soap-maker Even Keel’s bath fizzy set and the brand’s ‘Body Expedition’ herbal soaps scented with of clove, petitgrain oils, sweet orange, lemongrass, pine and lavender ($29 each).
La Nature; 233 5th Ave., Brooklyn. Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Sunday;
FAD Market
The FAD Market is a highly welcomed art space in north Brooklyn, creator Jen Bailey said.Stefano Giovannini
After taking a year and a half hiatus for COVID-19, curator Jen Bailey’s “bigger and better” FAD Market — FAD being an acronym for fashion, art, design — relaunched this month at two Brooklyn locations, the Invisible Dog Art Center in Boerum Hill and St. Paul’s Church in Cobble Hill. More than 100 merchants from the New York area are represented at the fairs, which boast artisan-made decor, knit clothing, bath and body supplies and more.
“It’s the chance to come offline and connect with community,” Bailey, who lives in Boerum Hill, told .

Stefano Giovannini

Stefano Giovannini

Stefano Giovannini

Stefano Giovannini

It’s also the perfect place to pick up a food gift — vendors include K’s European Jams, Amagansett Sea Salt Co. and New Jersey-based charcuterie brand Le BecFin Fine Foods. Bagged wines from Maivino make a perfect hostess gift: One bag ($30 and up) equals two bottles, and they last 30 days in the fridge after opening.
“It’s such an important time for the merchants and we wanted to make some fun holiday magic at the market as well,” Bailey said, adding that there are new additions to the fair this weekend.
If you need a festive holiday card, they’re offering a family-friendly, black and white picture studio helmed by photographer Kristopher Johnson. There’s also free artist demos, including glass beadmaking by Urban Glass and block printing with textile printers Better Than Jam.
FAD Market; The Invisible Dog Art Center, 51 Bergen St. and St. Paul’s Church, 190 Court St.; Dec. 11th to 12th and 18th to 19th;


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